Monday, April 20, 2015

Title VI Civil Rights Complaint filed 3-25-15 to Department of Education against DISD

Filed by Bill Betzen and 11 others

Dallas residents pay taxes to Dallas ISD expecting the money to be distributed equally among students.  The Texas Education Agency (TEA) defines such “regular expenditures” as “costs to provide the basic services for education/instruction to students not in special education (program intent code 11).”

In addition to that funding, federal, state and local sources provide extra money that is intended to cover special educational needs for children of poverty, children with various types of handicaps, and/or children who do not speak English. Need-based money is to be in addition to the base funding per student. 

But, instead of supplementing these “regular expenditure” funds per child, Dallas ISD has supplanted or replaced “regular expenditures” with the need-based funds. This effort appears to be centered in schools with high levels of poverty or special needs children and children who do not speak English, all schools with high levels of need based funding.  In some cases this can be illegal and result in criminal charges.  (Google both words together, supplement and supplant, and you will find many articles on this issue.)

This removal of basic resources from children of poverty, special education children, and children who do not speak English, is reflected in deteriorating school achievement. At the end of the 2013-14 school year, there was a 25% increase in the number of Dallas ISD schools on the annual Texas PEG List of failing campuses.  DISD went from 57 to 71 such failing schools.  Among these Peg schools are the “Improvement Required” schools that are in even worse shape. That number went from 34 to 43, a 26% increase. These were schools with less regular educational funding on average than the DISD schools serving more affluent populations.  They serve more needy students with less “regular expenditure” funding per child.

Campus climate surveys by teachers clearly reflect these inequalities in school safety.  The inequities in funding are also clearly shown on the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) Financial Standard Reports web site: . 

Teacher staffing patterns clearly reflect that the least experienced teachers are the ones serving in these most vulnerable, underfunded schools. See the Data Packet section under Statistics and Reports on the My Data Portal at to study teacher tenure school by school.

This pattern of replacing local funding dollars with federal and state dollars is not shown in neighboring districts such as Irving or Frisco.  Austin ISD doubles the funding in their most needy schools and does not have the achievement issues that have plagued Dallas, especially during these past two years.

Finally, with DISD facing these most fundamental of imbalances in the allocation of resources, proposals for choice schools only promise more segregation for at-risk, Limited English Proficiency (LEP), and special education students on failing campuses while continuing the lack of adequate resources to serve them.

In the complaint document (see, & updates being made, complainants are asking for immediate fraud audits of the State Compensatory funds that were used to illegally supplant regular education funding on Title I campuses, as well as the irregular allocation of High School Allotment funds. They demand investigations into the history of the movement of regular education funds in DISD that appear to have repeatedly been denied the poorest DISD students.

Data and stories of suffering are continuing to be collected to help prove the damages done to thousands of DISD’s underserved children of poverty.   Please send them to, Bill Betzen,